Nose-candy a world of hurt for Wallaby winger
May 16, 2006
Radio Australia, via NZH:
Sailor given week to challenge dope test
Wallaby and Waratahs winger Wendell Sailor has a week to challenge the positive drug test that has forced his indefinite suspension from rugby union.
Sailor was stood down before Saturday night's 19-14 loss to the Wellington Hurricanes in Sydney for an alleged serious breach of the Australian Rugby Union's code of conduct.
Rugby authorities had been informed on Friday that an A sample provided by Sailor had tested positive to a banned substance.
It's understood the 31-year-old may have tested positive to the recreational drug cocaine.
Sailor's Wallaby team-mate Nathan Sharpe described the news of Sailor's positive test as "shattering".
"That's shattering for big Dell. He's a good mate of mine and if that's the case I'm very shattered for him. Hopefully he's going to come out of this all right," he said.
Sailor has been in trouble three times in the past 10 months for drunkenness and breaking curfew.
The rugby league convert was banned for three weeks in February after an incident in a South African nightclub.
Waratahs coach Ewen McKenzie refused to speculate on Sailor's future, preferring instead to wait until the ARU and New South Wales Rugby Union's investigations were complete.
"I'm not going to sit in judgement until the whole thing's sorted out and we can talk formally, then I'll let my opinions be known at the right time," he said.
Sailor can request the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA) to test a B sample before any further action can be taken against him.
If he does not, or if the second test also proves positive, Sailor faces a possibly career-ending two-year ban.
Sailor positively stunned
By Jacquelin Magnay and Greg Growden
Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, May 15, 2006
Controversial Waratahs winger Wendell Sailor was "shocked" and "staggered" when he was first advised he had tested positive for cocaine last week.
Sources close to Sailor said he couldn't comprehend the test results from a urine sample he provided after the Waratahs' match against the ACT Brumbies in Sydney on Sunday, April 16. "He was shocked and is still staggered at what has happened," said a friend of Sailor's.
Sailor left Sydney to ponder his future and avoid the furore which erupted when his immediate suspension became public, but is expected to return for crisis meetings with his legal advisors today. Sailor is set to meet with the Australian Rugby Union Players Association chief executive, Tony Dempsey, this week.
Sailor also sent a text message to his Waratahs coach, Ewen McKenzie, who was forced to frantically reshuffle his team for Saturday night's final-round match against the Hurricanes after being informed his winger had to be stood down.
McKenzie said yesterday that Sailor used the text message to apologise for not telephoning and discussing the issue with him.
"He's obviously sorry, there's no question about that," McKenzie said. "He has certainly expressed that."
Sailor has yet to decide whether to accept the A sample result and fast-track a hearing before the Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority or to check the result by having the B sample (the second half of the original sample) tested in the presence of one of his agents.
Sailor was tested at random several weeks ago, following on from a three-match ban and $4000 fine he incurred after an alcohol-fuelled altercation outside a Cape Town nightclub.
Cocaine remains in the body for one to three days and the excreted compound, benzoylecgonine, can be found in the urine for as long as 60 hours after taking the drug. The metabolism of cocaine depends on an athlete's metabolic rate, the amount of drug taken, the size of the athlete and even the dilution of the urine.
If Sailor is found guilty, he will be forced into premature retirement, as he will be unable to play any professional sport for up to two years. He will be prevented from returning to rugby league or taking up any other major sport while under a drug suspension.
The Australian Rugby Union has all but ripped up Sailor's hefty two-year playing contract, worth in excess of $600,000 a season, pending the final outcome of the drug testing results and then a hearing before ASADA. The global sports signed to the World Anti-Doping Agency code, including the International Rugby Union and the National Rugby League, are bound to honour the sanctions and bans imposed for drug offences committed in any other sport.
"As a general rule, we would observe any suspensions imposed by a properly constituted tribunal," said NRL chief executive David Gallop. "And now under WADA there is a commitment applicable to us and all other WADA-compliant sports to observe those suspensions."
Sailor - popular among fans for his generous nature - received support from around the world, including New Zealand, yesterday.
Bulldogs player Willie Mason, whose own dramas with performance-enhancing drugs were splashed over the front pages of newspapers two years ago, said he was supportive of Sailor.
Mason - whose drugs tests results were the result of in-house club testing, not the more stringent ASADA protocols, and resulted in a hefty fine - said at Telstra Stadium: "I don't know too much about it so I can't really comment, but I support him whatever the outcome; he's a good bloke."
McKenzie, however, found it difficult to hide his despair that because of the Sailor saga, he had to make last-minute changes to a team which was eventually beaten by the Hurricanes, losing the chance of hosting a home Super 14 semi-final next weekend.
"Wendell has a problem, and he has to sort it out," McKenzie said yesterday.
"I don't enjoy not having players available, so I am disappointed. And there's no question that last-minute changes and running combinations you haven't trained with all week isn't going to help.
"One thing about these issues is that if you are getting repeat offences, there's obviously issues you maybe can't fix."
When asked if Sailor had tarnished rugby's image, McKenzie replied: "It's not helping."
The ARU was informed of Sailor's positive test on Friday night, and quickly alerted NSW, which then suspended their Test winger indefinitely.
"Hearing about this the night before an important match is not an ideal time frame for anyone," ARU chief executive Gary Flowers said last night.
"But the NSWRU have certainly dealt with it in a positive way and handled the situation very well."
Wendell racks up a first
By Jacquelin Magnay
Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, May 15, 2006
Wendell Sailor's case will be the first drugs hearing before the newly formed Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority.
ASADA will conduct the prosecution and also hear the case as soon as the testing process is complete. This could be in about three weeks' time.
When athletes provide a drug test, the urine sample is divided into two test tubes, labelled A and B, and sent to the Australian Sports Drug Laboratory in Pymble.
So far, the A sample of Sailor has tested positive to traces of cocaine. Sailor has 10 days from being first notified of the result to demand the opening of the B sample in the presence of himself or his agent. In nearly all cases, the B sample confirms the initial diagnosis.
Sailor still has several days to decide whether to accept the positive A finding or contest it. If he demands the B sample be tested, the testing may not take place until early next week. Once Sailor is deemed to have a positive test, quaintly termed a "notifiable event", he will go before a hearing of the ASADA.
This body, which replaced the Australian Sports Drug Agency in March this year, has the imprimatur to conduct the drugs hearing and make binding judgements. The Australian Rugby Union will be at hands-length from the hearing, although the arbitrator will conduct the hearing using the ARU anti-doping code, which complies with the World Anti-Doping Agency regulations.
Under this code, Sailor could face a two-year ban for testing positive to a stimulant in competition. If he can provide mitigating circumstances or assist officials with prosecutions of drug suppliers, he may be given a more lenient sanction of one year.
Interestingly, cocaine and other recreational drugs are not looked for in out of competition tests under the WADA code. This is why three AFL players, who have tested positive on two occasions each to recreational drugs, have not faced official sanctions. In the AFL cases, the tests were conducted in midweek and not on match days under an in-house AFL testing regime.
ASADA was established to remove national sporting organisations from any burden of sanctioning their own members.
...and now for the lawyers...
Lawyers defend Sailor
By Philip Cornford
Sydney Morning Herald
Monday, May 15, 2006
Footballers are "not slaves", so the public release of information that Wendell Sailor had tested positive to drugs was a "major invasion of his privacy and civil liberties", Australia's two top civil liberties lawyers said yesterday.
"We are growing increasingly concerned by a significant decrease in the civil liberties of high-profile sports people in relation to their off-field behaviour," Terry O'Gorman, president of the Australian Council for Civil Liberties, said.
Cameron Murphy, president of the NSW Council for Civil Liberties, said: "The announcement was premature. Nothing should have been said until the results of a first test were confirmed by a back-up test.
"There have been instances where the B tests have repudiated the results of the A test - but by then it is too late, the damage to a reputation has been irreparably done."
O'Gorman added: "It is clear that the rugby union authorities had a responsibility to say absolutely nothing until the initial test results had been confirmed by the follow-up tests. Initial tests are notorious for being wrong."
O'Gorman said high-profile sports people "are being sacrificed in the name of sponsorship as sports seek high corporate backing". He continued: "The relentless push to make money is interfering with their civil liberties and their right to privacy.
"It was clearly wrong for the rugby union to make any announcement until it had exhausted all checks.
"There has most definitely been a major infringement of Wendell's civil liberties and right to privacy."
Murphy said the rugby union and rugby league administrations should follow the example of the AFL, which only publicly identifies drug users after three offences.